April 08, 2003

The Cruise of the Talking Fish, by W.E. Bowman

This tale was included in the same volume as Bowman's The Ascent of Rum Doodle; and I'm glad to say that it's altogether more fun. Binder, the narrator of the first book, is invited to the home of a friend who has become convinced that all animals are as intelligent as people. Somehow he finds himself bankrolling an ocean raft expedition in search of a species of talking fish. With him go his friend, several other men, a frog named Darwin, and an oyster named Neptune.

As with the previous book, The Cruise of the Talking Fish isn't to be taken seriously, but to Bowman's credit it improves upon that book in two ways. First, the plot is considerably more screwball; second, the characters take everything with great seriousness. Good farce is like a souffle, and if those involved treat it lightly it falls.

The Ascent of Rum Doodle was a pleasant diversion during a business trip; but The Cruise of the Talking Fish is actually worth seeking out.

Posted by Will Duquette at April 8, 2003 06:06 PM